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Layout of the bend location was very critical: too much time, effort, and expense has been put into these parts so mess up now. The goal of this exercise is to have a strong 1.5 inch gap between the top bar and the short end of the bottom arch after the bend is completed. A strong 1.5 inch gap is desired because a wide gap can be shimmed, but a narrow gap would present a major dilemma. The key point to remember about the layout is this: The top bar, the crosstie (that goes in the gap between the side frame bars) and our new bottom arch are all 1.5 inches thick. Theoretically, the bottom surface of the bar to be bent should be located 4.5 inches from the three-foot rule in the photo. With the fudge factor included, we went with 4.625 inches.
Photo by Bill Liebman